Monday, December 29, 2008

Localisation and SEO - Guest Blog Spot by Paul Symonds

One of the keys to winning traffic and site visitors is to get up to date with the ways in which you can use SEO and Localisation. There are various e-Strategy techniques and it is not always about trying to be number 1 in

Getting to number one in can be great but you might for example that you are much better off thinking in terms of ‘Localisation SEO’. Being No.1 in for example and showing in the Local Maps Listings for ‘Plymouth Wedding Cars’ if you run a wedding cars business, is better than showing in and not showing in the local listings.
Barcelona SEO - Local Business Listings
Ideally you will have a strategy for tackling all variations you need. You might need different strategies for and of for example.

If your site is aimed at a specific local area i.e. if you are a garage, a local service, then try and buy the regional domain such as a It also helps if your hosting is local to that country. This will then help you to do better in local results. Also submit your site to Google Local Business Directory.

Make sure you have an e-strategy before you buy a domain, website hosting and before you get too far into the site design. If you have a business plan you will have already picked up on many of these issues but it not, better late than never.

Paul Symonds is a Bristol SEO eStrategy expert & also offers Cardiff SEO.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How to Keep Visitors on Your Site - Part 3

As I've already mentioned previously, it's becoming more and more important to focus not just on driving traffic to your website, but also maintaining your new visitors on your site for longer.

As we're coming to the end of another year, it's a very good idea to review things on your site statistics to find out more about which pages were most visited, which had the highest bounce rate, etc. and how to try and fix that.

Forms can be a real *stop* on web pages. Filling in forms - no matter how small they seem - can often be off-putting and it's important to lead a completed form to a page with a real deadline as to when a client's request will be replied to and delat with.

Another great way to get around this is for the client to call you directly. And what better way to encourage this than adding a free phone number.
Barcelona SEO - Telephone
0800 numbers (1-800 numbers in US) or even local number (0845 in UK, for example) are a real winner. This not only creates immediate trust within a website, but shows that your company is a serious competitor, hungy for business and proud of the product on offer. 0800 numbers are fairly easy to set up, and assuming you don't want to pay for an easy-to-remember number (why? if you can plce the number clearly visible on the site and then people can type the number directly into their telephones), then you can find many companies offering this service. Calls can be re-directed to a land line or even a mobile phone - although the latter is obviously considerably more expensive.

Think about your target audience geographically, and go for a number in that country. If your website is in English but you receive more visitors from the USA, then get a 1-800 Toll free number and maybe a local call number for the UK. It is very important when selecting a free phone number to select a tariff which is PPS or pay per second, and NOT for minutes. This may sound rediculous, but it will drastically reduce the cost of your calls. Also, some companies offer an "interface" where you can forward calls to the number you decide. This is especially good for small businesses, as you ca have the free phone number directed to your land line as default, but then re-direct the call with the click of a button to your mobile if you need to leave the office for a few hours for example. This way you never lose a call.

At Barcelona SEO we can help you with many suggestions and strategies to keep your customers online and improve your sales techniques. Contact us for more details.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

How to keep Visitors on your Website - Custom 404 page

How many of you have come across this message before? I'll guess and say a lot.

Barcelona SEO - html 404 error page

OK, mine's in Spanish, and I've chosen Internet Explorer's version as it's the most widely used, but Mozilla and Mac users will have seen a similar message. So what do you usually do? A very low percentage of people would click back, and re-navigate the site to find the page they were looking for. A high majority of people would think that the website they are using have crashed and close the browser window, and the other percentage would just close and go and find the information they needed on someone else's website.

Unfortunately, site errors can be common and sometimes occur through no fault of our own. I've seen many inbound links from sites or blogs supposedly recommending a client's site all with good intentions, but mis-typing a url, for example. This is free publicity and should not be sniffed at. However, coming up with an error like the one above (known as a html 404 error page) not only turns the visitor off, but creates a bad impression overall of your site, and pretty much ensures that the visitor won't remember your site, or be back in a hurry.

The good news is that there's help at hand. It's a very good practice to make a custom 404 web page - a page which gives the same information, but follows the template and colours of your own website. It's much easier to see a small error message that the page you're looking for couldn't be found, but in the tone of your website, and a gentle re-direction to the home page or somewhere else like a site map, for example.
Barcelona SEO - Custom 404 error page
This makes the user feel that they have in fact found the right website (even if the landing page is the 404 custom error) and they can easily naviagte to a different part of your site, rather than closing the browser. One customer kept on your site, and bounce rate down.

For E-marketing strategies in Barcelona and to expand on ideas such as the custom 404 page, please contact me.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How to Keep Visitors on Your Website - Introduction.

What a lot of people don't realise when they start out a website, is that you need to design your website around the end user and NOT the search engines. Many people think about Search Engine traffic as the be all and end all, but as a "normal internet user" searching for something I need, I've seen some terrible sites up at number 1 and 2 - absolutely terrible page navigation, and although I'm so used to looking at websites I sometimes can't even find the button I need to go to the next step, be that buy, read more, sign up or whatever.

These kind of sites are throwing away their popular position of being at number 1 (or 2, or 3, for example) as they have concentrated too much on just driving huge amounts of traffic to their website in the hope that this will be enough to make sales. Bad move. Today's internet user needs clever guidance and for you to carefully lead them to make the decisions to reach the right page on your website.
Barcelona SEO - Money on table
When we talk about sales, and as I'll be mentioning in the next few blog posts, we need to be aware of some industry-wide phrases or acronyms to help us understand e-Marketing. Here are a few, just in case some of you are unaware of them. Please remember, too, that some sites do not always deal in monetary value - you might have a blog or an ezine/newsletter which needs more readers, for example, not a site actually selling something.

· Return on Investment, or ROI - This relates to the amount of profit you receive from the initial injection of your project. This could relate to time, resources or money.
· URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, but is basically the address that you see in the website address bar on your website browser. "http(s)://www. ...."
· Landing page is the web page that a visitor to your site sees, or "lands" on. It's not always your home page, which is why it's important to know the difference between the two.
· Bounce rate - This basically means the time a user spends on your website before leaving, and is usually shown as a percentage.

For more details on abbreviations, acronyms and other common SEO terms, I suggest you sign up for a Google Webmaster Tools account here.

Barcelona SEO - Google Webmaster Tools
There are various different ways to keep a visitor on your website, starting with a user-friendly navigation of course, but once you have what you think to be a decent site, then there are a few little extras to be added or implemented - this is what I'll be tackling over the next few posts. Please subscribe so as not to miss out on any tips.

For a detailed SEO analysis of your site, or SEO Training in Barcelona, please contact me.

Google Image Ads for AdWords

For many of you using AdWords in Google for your pay per click campaign, a new tool has been launched by Google regarding content displayed ads. These are ads which show on Google's partner sites, or anyone who has AdSense, for example, and until recently had been limited to text ads, rather like the ads you would see on a normal SERP of Google.

I have tried out a few ads, and although it took me a while to find one of my own ads on a content site (!), then I think it's a great addition. There are a number of templates to choose from, and the Google image ad wizard guides you through the process of creating an ad, before saving it for you.
Barcelona SEO - Google AdWords image ad
I think it's a great addition to the old ads, as you can have images, logos, even small graphics, or flash-type animation (albeit basic), but if you can make an ad that stands out on a page, then I say go for it - if there are 9 ads showing on the same page, and yours is the only image ad, then you have higher chance of being seen and therefore clicked on.

This is also a great tool for branding, as you can have your company logo in on the ad, and if you choose for example the option of cost per impression (CPM)rather than cost per click, then it means you're getting your barnd out there and being seen even if people don't end up clicking on your link.
SEO Barcelona - Image Ad for Google Adwords
You can then follow the results of your new image ad with the Placement Performance Report (PPR) - a detailled report on clicks, impressions, conversions and cost of the ad throughout the google content network.

Try it out, and let me know how it goes, I'd be surprised if your comments aren't positive!

I offer AdWords training and Managment in Barcelona for Google and other Pay Per click campaigns. Please contact me at Barcelona SEO and I'll be happy to chat about your business and opportunities.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Google Webmaster Tools

As I've mentioned before, Google has an array of products available for you to try out and experiment with. All of these are completely FREE of Charge, and it's well worth signing up for a Google account if you haven't already done so, to see the possibilities of how these tools can help you and your website.
Barcelona SEO - Google Accounts
One of the most important ones from an SEO point of view is Google Webmaster Tools. This cool tool "provides you with detailed reports about your pages visibility on Google". There is a ton of information in Webmaster Tools, including a comprehensive lost of pages linking to you (very important, and much better than using normal google search and "link:"), as well as crawl errors, robot.txt errors, internal linking erros, basically any erros that you can fix. The tool also gives you a broken url feunction, which is now very, very good. This basically gives you a list of the urls across the web where you have a link to one of your web pages, but that it broken. The list used to just tell you how many links you had broken, but now gives you a list of which websites actually feature this broken link so that you can correct this. Maybe it's a reciprical link that has incorrect html, or a blog post, article, etc. This is a fantastic tool.
Barcelona SEO - Google Webmaster Tools
Another main feature is the keyword analysis tool, which shows you which keywords have been used to find pages in your website, month by month. You can choose any date range and compare and contrast, depending on what you have been focussing on during your SEO campaign.

Another very important tool is the sitemap feature. This allows you to upload a sitemap to Google which is then verified, to help Googlebot crawl all of your pages. This is espcially good if you have a large site, but equally as important for a small site, to ensure that Google has the details of all the pages on your site.

For some users, the sheer amount of information in Webmaster Tools or Google Analytics can be daunting, so it's important to be able to interpret the data.
SEO Barcelona - Google Analytics
I offer SEO Training in Barcelona which covers such topics as Data Analysis, and how to react under different situations. Please contact me for details.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Google Custom Search

I wanted to share my thoughts on Goolgle's new Custom Search Beta Engine they have created. Basically, it's a kind of search feature that you can add to your own website/blog/whatever but that you control the results which appear in the SERPS that the custom search throws up. The first step would be to add all of your pages on your website to the Search results. Then you can periodically add any other pages across the internet you like, thus creating your own personalised search results for your users to see if they use your search engine.
Barcelona SEO - Google's Custom search
I was trying to find the use of this, and came up with two theories. The first would be to simply add this to your site if you have a huge site and want a free search feature. However chances are that if your site is that big, then you'd probably have a search feature in there already. Let's use the example of a website that sells products for dogs - say dog collars, kennels, shampoos, etc.

So now imagine if you're searching the net for something, and you come across another blog all about dogs, and think that your website users may find this useful so you add it to the search results. This is all done very innocently and in good faith that you're creating a better experience for your website users. However, you may in fact, be turning away many customers without even thinking about it.
Barcelona SEO - Dog whistle
Let's say a customer wants to buy a dog whistle, but you don't sell them. They do a custom search for dog whistles on your site which throws up a few random results on some sites you have added; say how farmers use their whistles to call sheepdogs. YOUR customer clicks the link, and LEAVES your website (there's a big bounce rate to start with). On the new site, Google AdSense is displaying ads, and guess what? There's an Ad for dog whistles from your competition! So not only have you sent a customer away from your site, but you've also opened the door for them to your own competition!! Ok, you might not have been able to sell them a dog whistle, but they might have loved the 2 for 1 promotion you were running this month on squeaky toys. You get the picture.

As always, Google is the only winner on this one. They are becoming frighteningly good at collecting information, and it's all been given to them freely. Don't forget that Google takes a hefty chunk out of Adsense, too, so it's a win-win for Google. I really can't see the benefits of the custom search engine,but if you guys have had any positive experience with it, please do share...

SEO services Barcelona

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Scamming Page Rank

It's fairly widely accepted by most SEO's that your page rank may have no bearing whatsoever on your actual position in organic SERPS. In other words, the top 10 results on any SERP will not necessarily be in descending Page Rank order - it's quite easy for a PR3 to beat a PR5 or PR6 site, for example.

However, some SEO's are convinced that their time is best spent trying to get a higher PR (I'm not one of them). So much so, that they are using some fairly sneaky techniques.
Barcelona SEO - Googlebot
Readers of Google's Webmaster Blog will have seen how recently, the Google Bot has been going on a few dates with some amusing results. This light hearted look at some of the best ways to "please" Googlebot and help with Internet crawling, looked at 301 & 302 (307) redirects amongst other topics. For those of you who are not familiar with the codes, they are codes for human users and search bots alike - re-directing the user/search bot to another page, presumably as the existing page doesn't exist anymore. 301 is a permanent redirect, and 302 is temporary.

Certain webmsaters or SEO's are exploiting the idea of the redirect, by using 302's to point their site to a higher PR site. This can all be very confusing, and there are ways to check. For example, in Google, you can type and then check the number of links to that site, for example. If it's ranking as a PR5 but has only 200 links, chances are it's a fake.

Another much quicker way is this handy check page rank tool which delivers a real result for domain name (with or without www), in just a few seconds, and is very relaibale.

These, and many other Black Hat techniques should be avoided to acheive sustainable results in the search engine results pages. Training can be given on thse topics by Barcelona SEO company.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Google's New Keyword Tool

Selecting Keywords for your SEO strategy or Pay Per Click campaign is getting easier. The Keyword tool within Webmaster Tools and the AdWords set up was fairly basic beforehand, but then they introduced (supposedly) real time search results into the equation in an effect to make your keyword choices more accurate. What it actually did was to include the braodest search terms for your choices, often promting you to add these keywords, and pay more money on a campaign. Sometimes people are blinded by the authority Google holds and take everything as a great tip.
Barcelona SEO - Search results Keyword tool

Google's Search Based Keyword Tool has recently surfaced, and to be completely honest, I haven't had the chance to thoroughly work my way through it and see the potential benefits. The great difference with this new tool is that you can introduce any url from your website, and then Google throws up the most recent search terms that have given your url for that month. Click on any keyword term and then Google Insights pops up. Although you're hardly going to see any miracles here (kind of like Google trends in terms of vague curves etc.), it still gives you a good idea as to the numbers of SERPS being displayed and has a handy filter which, if there is enough information, can give you great demographic ideas to base your techniques on.

Barcelona SEO - Google Insights

If you have time, check it out, and let me know how you get on.

SEO Training in Barcelona

We're gonna have to go to the public vote....

As I have previously mentioned, Google's main aim is always to make the experience of using their page as perfect as possible and the end user is always the winner. It's a fact that whilst many people's internet usage starts with Google, it's very often spent on many other pages that the Google SERPs throw up (Search Engine Results Pages). Google even solves questions that no-one knows the answer to - don't know, ask around, no-one else knows, ask Google. New SERPs also have started to include a personalised list of results, based on your search history (something which can be turned off, but I'm sure many don't).

Google's new Search Wiki is now enabling you to completely control your own SERPs. Currently unavailable on, but available on .com and and assuming you're logged in to your google account, the search results come with some new graphics by the side of each result. These include up and down arrows, a cross and a speech bubble. Google has basically turned it's SERPs into an interactive page where you can promote, demote, leave comments/valuations and even erase a result on the pages you have visited.

Barcelona SEO - Google Wiki
Let's look at the above example in the image. I used the search term Apartments for Rent Barcelona and was able to bump the page from page 2 to page 1. Let's say I had browsed brefily the first 20 results, and then decided to rate them in order of importance - this would be reflected each time I re-visited the same SERP. Whilst Google claims that this new tool is to improve the individual search experience, we can't ignore the fact that this may influence organic results in the future.

Other bloggers have commented that this would effectively render AdWords ineffective, but I disagree. The AdWords ads would still appear as they do now in the example I've shown, along side the real organic results or the Wiki results. You could still choose to click on the ads or not, just that these can't be moved.

I have another possible theory. If we assume that real people performing real searches do actually take the time to promote and demote even just the first 5 results on a SERP, and that little by little Google relfects this movement of the people into the real organic results, then the public very much is deciding on the rankings and results.

As always, people will be thinking of ways to cheat the system. So here's my niche market:

A software programme that gives you a constant dynamic IP, changing location all the time all over the world. This way SEO's can sit all day on their computers and "bump up" their own pages to the top supposedly from different individual IP's in the hope that this will have some kind of effect on the organic results. Sounds stupid? I bet you it would sell like hot cakes. I'm interested to hear your thoughts.

AdWords Management Barcelona

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Google Site Links.

You may have noticed in search results displayed by Google that certain websites have the usual Google text (Title, Header and then the meta description and URL) but they also have sub-headings which are supposedly to help with the navigation of "bigger sites".

Well, tests have shown that these 8 results that follow are simply those which receive the most Click Through Rates (CTR) from Google's point of view.

This re-enforces the view that if you have good site navigation, and send your users naturally to where you want them to go, and not where they think they need to go, then your results on Google Site links will come up trumps.

Only Google decides on whether they think your site needs extra navigation or not, and there is no way to manipulate this system in order to have a larger listing, however, it is all important to ensure good site navigation in case this does one day happen. I am happy to consult with regards site design, and make any suggestions as part of an SEO package.

Search Engine Optimisation Barcelona with Barcelona SEO. Pleae enquire for a no obligation quote.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Google Universal Search

Google has a hard job as it is. Sifting through millions of webistes on a daily basis is a tough enough job, without trying to include other sources. Don't get me wrong - I'm not a Google Geek, but I wanted to try and explain about Google's idea of a Unversal search.

Everybody knows that Google bought YouTube and that shortly afterwards, Video results were incorporated into Google's search results. Apparently Google wants to become as broad as possible, and when the user types in a search phrase, wants to give as many options as possible, be it maps, books, video, images, websites, blogs, etc.

So how does Googlebot decide how to rank the results? As I have already mentioned in previous posts, inbound links to your site highly influence the rankings of your search terms. However, Google is all about the end user, and wants to try and make the experience of using their search engine the definitive one.

A great example of this can be seen if you type "Barcelona Metro" into The first 3 results are maps of the Barcelona metro - but the words "map" "plan" or "layout" have not been included in your original search string (or "plano", "mapa", etc.). So why did Google rank these results above other textual based results? The answer is that the end user will have clicked more on the plans and maps of the Barcelona metro whilst using the same search string therefore Googlebot sees this as the most relevant and bumps it up to first place.

The first news about Universal Search was way back in 2007, and SEO's worldwide, I'm sure were worried as to the impact on those hard earned 1st page results. However, sticking to Google's guidelines, and refraining from Black hat SEO can still be a successful method towards gaining the results you want.

I offer courses covering all topics on this Barcelona SEO Blog, including Universal Search and how to maximise your website to exploit the algorithms involved. Please contact me for details or eqnuire about SEO Training in Barcelona.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Google pulls plug on Yahoo! merger

I had commented recently on the possible merger of Yahoo! and Google for search and Ad results. This was announced back in June, and had a mixed reception. I think people's main fears were over the monopoly over Internet Ads that Google (or new Google-Yahoo!) would have. They could effectively charge any amount they wanted for Ads and the advertisers would have no other option than to cough up.

Well, people, fear not. Google has anounced that the deal isn't going to go ahead. Read the post, it's not too long. I think they have basically listened to the many worried bloggers and companies already using their services, and realised that it wasn't going to benefit them as it could lead to boycots, etc. Who knows.

I offer training and managment for Google AdWords accounts for your company. Also Link Building Services in Barcelona. Please contact me for details.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Google Chrome - Monopoly of the Web

As I previously mentioned in this post, Google's chrome as a first web browser is a great change from the usual tab-enhanced browsers available thus far. Depending on the success of Chrome (and then subsequent versions), it would be no surprise to one day see Google's products being installed into computers at factory level as an Operating System.

Of course, Google is extremely clever in releasing Chrome - it also means that Google is collecting Data from all of the users of Chrome and adding it into their search algorithms. I have previously mentioned that Google is all about the end user, and with "Universal Search", started in 2007, results are far more based on user CTR rather than SEO stratergies (as was the case, say, 8/9 years ago).

This massive source of information makes Google even more powerful in understanding the profile of the everyday user in search as a concept. There has been talk over recent years of a possible Yahoo! - Google merger - with mixed results. The primary concerns are that Yahoo!'s results would be seen as somewhat "diluted" due to the massive market share that Google has at the moment. Also, this would leave the third most popular search engine - MSN - at a serious disadvantage, as the new merger of Yahoo! Google would hold more than a majority stake in search, if not the web.

Translate this to the current advertisers (where Google makes the most money), and one could be forgiven to beleieve that the merger could then simply hike up the prices of PPC, etc. and the advertisers would have no other choice but to accept.

So what's the solution? I think that Google would somehow have to "share" the information which it collects and distribute on a fair basis so as not to have an unfair market share. What cannot be controlled is the popularity and confidence Google has earned amongst internauters, and their popularity would never diminish if this information was shared. However, I don't see Google sharing such information as an event happening in the near future - maybe you guys can correct me?! I'm leaving this one open to suggestions and comments, so please feel free to correct me or add your comments. Thanks.

Pay Per Click Management Barcelona

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Google Chrome

Google Chrome
I have had this post as a draft for a while, and had not posted so far, as I wanted to give a fairly thorough viewpoint as to Google's new web browser Chrome. The reason for publishing now? Well, I've just also downloaded Mozilla's Minefield, and it has left behind a few of the coments I had already drafted with regards Google Chrome!

If Apple have gained the technophobes confidence with their ease of scrolling through archives and images (imitated but not beaten by HTC Diamond) - one of the main suppliers for Google's Android phone) then Google have gained the average web-browsers confidence with Chrome. Your home page is converted into smaller screenshots of sites most recently visited, leaving navigation of your favourite sites, literally at rhe click of the mouse. On the downside (and from an SEO point of view), there is no google bar - what?! (or at least at the time of writing), and that is something that with IE or Firefox, some of us have got used to too much. Hence, to not have the toolbar takes a bit of the shine off it.
Mozilla Minefield
The main thing that Mozilla's new Minefield is competing with is speeed, and boy is it fast! Maybe if you download and use for a day you would not see the comparisons, but use it for a week or so, and the differences in speed of losding pages becomes apparent. Hey, we're only talking about seconds or even miliseconds, but if this is the Beta Version, then yet again Mozilla are moving in the right direction.

Please contact me if you would like to drive more traffic to your business. I'm a qualified AdWords Consultant in Barcelona and will be happy to help.

Barcelona Guide

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Barcelona Search Congress 2009

In January of 2009, Barcelona celebrates the first SEO conference of its kind in the city. The conference is to take place in the Rey Juan Carlos I Hotel between the 28th and 30th January 2009. The Hotel is a 5 star hotel, located on Av. Diagonal, in the North West of the city, and is a great place to celebrate the 1st conference, having received prizes and awards for event holding.

The 3 day course has a provisional line-up (it has to be said 90% Spanish) with the Big Wigs of Yahoo! Microsoft, and a TBC of someone from Google coming, so is making all the right moves for attracting anyone wanting to experience in Barcelona the world and importance that SEO is considered to be by many.

At the moment, the 3 day conference is to be divided into workshops (1st day) and then the conference with speakers and also a "village" with various corners, including Google, Social, Tools, Domain, Jobs and Game. For more details see the Search Congress Barcelona website.

January also has a few more conferences coming to Barcelona, and although the Rey Juan Carlos I would be the ideal location to stay as it's where the conference is being held, it is of course a 5 Star Hotel, so may be a little over budget for some. Don't forget that there are some great Apartments for Rent in Barcelona, as well as the normal hotel options, too.

Feel free to comment on your thoughts about the conference, and let me know if you'll be attending.

For Website Positioning Barcelona please feel free to contact me.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Has Google Killed the Yellow Pages ?

Has Google done away with the Yellow Pages? or is it just the internet? I don't know about you, but the last few copies of the Yellow Pages that have landed on my doormat Barcelona SEO Yellow Pageshave never left the plastic covering until the following one arrived the year after. Google's current market share power with it's Universal Search ( which this week received a US Patent ) has proven that you can find things much quicker and with more possible options than sifting through the Yellow Pages. Images, blogs, videos, books, websites, etc. is a lot more that the current Yellow Pages can offer. Big companies in the current climate need to have an experienced SEO to keep up - easy for big companies, but with Yellow Pages it was just as easy to place a big ad.

Times are changing, and maybe there is too much focus on the web? I have said this on many occasion but there is a common misconception of Google as being the definitive guide, and providing the best results. This is untrue, and simply means that certain sectors have either got lucky with their SEO, or have paid big bucks.
I'll give you an example, although there are hundreds. If you type
car tyres into Google, you may be surprised to read that there is no big car tyre company (Michelin, Continental, Pirelli, etc.) in the top 5. In fact, number 9 is Michelin. So big brands probably rely on branding and repeat clients rather than the internet, one would imagine. Compare that to the Yellow Pages a couple of years ago, and you could pretty much guarantee that all of the above companies would have a full page ad in each edition.

If I were an advertiser, looking to invest in my company's exposure, I would certainly think twice about placing a big ad in the Yellow Pages nowadays. I think money is much better spent on a good SEO campaign and maintaining that. Your thoughts and comments are welcome as always.

E-Marketing Strategies Barcelona

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Link building 2 - more stratergies to implement.

As previously mentioned link building is an integral part of any SEO campaign, and putting all your eggs in one basket is not reccomended. No-one ever knows if Google or any or the other search engines will de-value certain types of links you have built, which means if you have only concentrated on one main area, then this could seriously affect your position. Here are some new ideas to focus on your link building.

I have also already commented on Link Baiting, which is one of the best ways to gain traffic. You can also search forums in your sector, and become an active contributer to these forums. Over time you will be able to offer suggestions, with perhaps a relative link to your own site. Some forums also allow HTML links as a signature, giving you a pwerful anchor text to your site.

Setting up an e-mail signature in your e-mail with your main search terms is also a fantastic idea. This does not create immediate links which will show up in Google, but is creating Branding for your company, and making an unconscious association of the keywords with your comapny and website. This is also very important.

Become an active Blogger. Leave comments on other people's blogs and read around. If you don't know where to start, you can use Google's Beta Blogsearch. Use it exactly as you would the normal search bar, and this will give you related results from various time frames, starting with the most recent posts in your area. Don't Spam however, and remember that many comments need to be moderated before being published.

For Link Building Services Barcelona please contact me at

Friday, October 17, 2008

Link Baiting. Content is King.

Link baiting is possibly the best way to create 1-way links to your website and can provide fantastic results in a very short space of time, as it is considered viral.
The idea of link baiting is to create content on your website that people will want to link to, especially bloggers, social networkers (facebook, digg,, stumble upon,Myspace, etc. etc.). If you have something interesting, then it's natural that people will link to it. This can be done in numerous ways:

Create original content on your site. Content is King, and don't you forget it. If you have information on your site that is genuinely interesting, or perhaps gives an insight or another angle to the common viewpoint, then it's got a good chance of being tagged and linked to. Write unknown facts about your sector, or give a top 10 list - these are potentially huge winners, and if it spreads quickly, can earn you hundreds and ven thousands of links. Giving people something that seems unuique or something supposedly unknown is a very powerful viral technique.

Another way to gain popularity is to be controversial - challange a widely held belief, but be prepared to back yourself up. Also saying something nasty or unpopular can draw lots of attention, but be careful with the content you want to add to your site.

Giving something useful away on your site is another great way to gain links. A funny widget, or a genuinely useful tool that can lead people back to your site is very valuble.

Link baiting is something you need to try and persevere - maybe you won't get it right the first time round, but look at others doing the same thing and see how you can apply it to your sector.

Affordable Barcelona SEO

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Link Building - the time consumer.

According to SEO Guru, Aaron Wall, link building is the single most effective stratergy to ensure your rankings go higher in search engines. Here is a direct quote "Link Building... Time-intensive. Frustrating. Sometimes confusing. Yet Unavoidable. Because ultimately, it's still the trump card for higher rankings. "

Link building is, to be blunt, a pain. It is something very difficult to control and monitor, often frustrating and due to algorithm changes in Google (let's use Google as the example), can often wipe out weeks or maybe even months of work.

Aaron uses the word "trump card" to great effect, as any card player will know, you may be dealt several hands before being dealt a trump card. And even then a higher suit may win the game. Over the next few weeks, I am going to try and simplify the link building process with some stone wall SEO link building techniques, all of which are shown in greater detail in my SEO day training packages.

One of the most obvious link building stratergies is link begging. This involves writing to the webmasters of various websites you deem fit enough to link to your website, and asking them for a 2-way link.

So how do you find these websites? Well, an easy way of going about this is to look at your competitors, and let google do the hard work. If you type into google's search bar "links:" you will be presented with a list (not complete) of websites linking to this site. Contact these sites - it's likely that if they linked to your competition, they will be willing to link to your site, too. You can also check the same sites and click on their link pages, in case the google result has missed a few. Then check out the incoming link site, and if you like it, and think this would be valuable to your site, click on the linkpage of this site, too, and find out who is linking to them. And so on.
Link begging is a slow process and 70% or more of your emails will more than likely go straight into a spam box, or get deleted without being read. For this reason, it pays to take a little time to actually view the site you want to link to, and then comment on why you like it. A standard "Would you like to exchange links" email will go unread, but if you comment on a specific part of the site that interestsed you, and mention it, then you're more likely to get a positive response.

Please feel free to contact me for your Barcelona Online Marketing.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Using Video in SEO to Promote Your Brand.

Perhaps the most popular video website on the internet is YouTube, where you really can find almost anything on video. The great thing is that google controls YouTube's search function, which means that when you use a normal google search, sometimes videos can appear from youtube as part of the natural "organic" search results.

There are also many other video submission websites (Veoh, for example, but I have many more) which you can submit your videos to. This is a free way of advertising your product, and also a great way of branding your website or product.

The videos themselves don't need to be professionally made, and in fact, sometimes still images work better if done correctly. Here is an example of how something can work on YouTube:

I offer video creation, submission and optimisation as part of SEO packages. I think that all companies should make promotional videos for their websites, and that it's an investment that could provide many visits to your site, and something that will only increase in popularity. Please view details at my Barcelona SEO site.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Facebook Ads - a cheaper alternative to Google's AdWords.

Almost everyone has a Facebook account nowadays, and if you've had yours for a while you may have noticed ads appearing quite inconspicuously around a year ago. There is usually only 1 or 2 on any page, and they almost always have a small image. It's easy for you to set up your own account and create an ad to appear on Facebook's pages.

After quite a few months of trials and results, I can confirm that it's considerably more cost effective than Google, but with a major flaw - the reports are very simple and although I'm sure this is something that can be fixed, or may be a working process already, it's good to have an alternative.

There has been some buzz on various internet blogs and sites of talk of a Yahoo! and Google merger in the future, and whilst some people think this would be great, others are quick to point out that with such a huge market share, this new partnership would effectively control everything we see, and could hike up the usual PPC costs - simply because they could - and the small companies would have no other choice than to pay these higher costs. At least with Facebook, you have an alternative!!

Website Positioning Barcelona

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Writing effective AdWords ads

One thing is to have your ads appearing on the pages you want them to, be it google's search engine page or the content network, but you'll probably be alongside loads of other ads, too, especially if you're in a competative sector.

So how can you make your ad stand out from the rest? Well, the Ad type is fairly strict, and you may have already made an ad, and then been told that it doesn't meet the guidelines, and have had to rectify. But there are some ideas you could impliment to try and make your ad stand out from the rest.

Capitals are not allowed in Google's Adwords, or at least not all capitals. However, making the first letter of each word in capitals, apart from non-action words (prepositions like on, by, at, with, etc.) can often make a difference and make your ad stand out. Consider:

brand new iphone cover in gold!

Brand New Ipod Cover in Gold!

See the difference? It's small, I agree, but can make a difference against maybe 10 or 11 other sponsored results.

OK, so the title can grab your potential customer's eye, but what about the rest of the information ? you have very little space in your ad to say what you want, so sometimes eliminating certain words doesn't harm - sacrificing grammar for that all important keyword can be worth it, and people always understand that classified ads in a newspaper for example, are small.

One thing I would advise against is the use of abbreviations. Don't assume that everyone understands the abbreviations you're using. GSOH is a frequent one in personal ads, but there are loads and I think I'd get lost after a while. I remember one time seeing an adwords ad with an abbreviation I didn't understand and clicked, though, so maybe it has the reverse effect, too! No, realy, not something I would reccomend.

The CTA or Call to action is also really important. Think of your target audience - use the correct register - if you were selling expensive watches, don't write things like "Check us out!" for example. It has been proven that for example "now" or "immediate" are good words to include in a call to action, as it implies that the customer has already found what they are looking for. "Free" and "download" are also winners, although DON'T just use these words if you do not have anythig completely free on your site. Free is a flagged word for Google, and it may be checked.

Also remember that the display url and the destination url can be different - in fact, using your ad variations, it's always a good idea to experiment with a few different destination urls, or "landing pages" to see what works best. The display url needs to be short, usually the home page, as you are effectively creating branding, and want people to remember your website name rather than a huge url which directs you to their product.

I offer AdWords Management in Barcelona and other SEO services. Please contact me for details.

Barcelona apartments for groups and Cheap Barcelona apartments.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Google AdWords Part 2 – tweaking your ads to lower the costs of a click.

Although Google’s algorithms are extremely effective in delivering the correct search results, sometimes a site could rank well for non-related search terms, and it’s probably happened to us on more than one occasion. Searching for a room to rent in Barcelona, might throw up a real estate website, or Tourist apartments in Barcelona company. The same can happen in your Adwords ads, and you may receive clicks for people searching for something similar to your product, but not exactly what they were looking for. This can be frustrating, as you pay for the click anyway, and this starts to use up your budget. So as well as adding your keywords to your ads, you can also add negative campaign words, which can often halve your spending budget.
Let’s use the same example as my last post, the Airport transfer company. Clicks may have come through for “limousine transfer” and if the company has no limousines in their fleet, then this is a good one to take out. Baby chairs, bike racks, etc. are all things to consider and to check in the campaign statistics, too – you can see where this goes.
Barcelona SEO - Google AdWords

Another way to save costs with your ads is placement of the ads. All ads need to have a default amount and a maximum amount that you want to pay for a click on the ad. This means that you may have to cough up a fair amount of money if your market sector is competitive. People usually look at a few of the sponsored ads, not just 1 and 2 at the top. Those at the right often receive just as many clicks – often more, as they are at the same height as the organic results, so easy on the eye. Changing your preferences to never appear in position 1 or 2, but no lower than 5 for example can save you a lot of money.

Using Ad variations is another sure fire winner. You create similar ads to your main idea, and Google rotates your ad variations, making sure they have an even distribution, and you can work out which are the most effective. For example, one particular call to action may work better than others, or Capitalising the first letter of each word, for example (all Caps are not allowed, neither are excessive exclamation marks, things like this). This will then show you how to re-create this success in the rest of your ads across the other campaigns.

I offer professional AdWords set up and managment and training as part of my SEO services. For more details, please contact me or leave a comment.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Google AdWords

Google has a variety of tools available for webmasters to make life easier and direct traffic to your website. One of the most effective and quickest methods is Adwords. This is a paid service whereby you appear alongside the normal “organic” results of a search term, at the top of the page or at the sides, as “sponsored results”. You can track your results and percentage of clicks against the number of times your ad has been displayed. This is called the click through rate (CTR). You can also set up what is called conversion tracking, which measures how many times people actually click on the call to action (CTA) you are promoting - maybe that’s the “buy now” button, or “send me thr brochure”, etc. Adwords is very simple to set up, but most people make the same mistakes, and whilst it is possible to put a limit to the amount of money you want to spend, it’s easy to go over budget. Here I’ll try to explain a few ways of getting around that.
Barcelona SEO - Google AdWords

Adwords is split into various sections: campaigns, Adgroups and ads. The biggest mistake by most people is to set up 1 campaign group with 1 ad group and many ads running. Due to the amount of variables you can control within your account, this is a bad move. The best idea is to have 3 or 4 campaigns running, each with a different target – you can target countries, languages, other sites for your ads to appear (Content network) and even days of the week, and times of the day. Even with these 5 variables, you can see how specific you can target your advertisements to reach your prospective clients.

Within each campaign, it’s important to have various Adgroups. It’s probably good to give an example at this point. Let’s take the example of an airport transfer company here in Barcelona. You could have 5 campaigns in English targeting (for example) the UK and Ireland, USA, Scandinavia and then the rest of Europe. Then the 5th could be in Spanish for Spain and South America. Each ad group could target content network, weekends and weekdays. Each ad could use variations on times shown (especially for those in different time zones, obviously!), then target different keywords and variations on these keywords – plurals, mis-spellings. At this point it’s important to have ad variations – with different call to actions (phrases such as “call now”, or “see more” etc.) to see later through the stats which work better than others. There are more little tools to tweak, but I don’t want to get into too much detail too soon.

I offer professional AdWords set up and managment and AdWords Training in Barcelona as part of my SEO services. For more details, please contact me or leave a comment.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Have you ever wondered why certain search engines will give you the top ten results, with 2 results grouped together - kind of staggered one after the other but with the same website?
SEO Barcelona - Theming
SEO Barcelona - Theming
This is what's known as "Theming" and is a slightly different term to the literal sense of the word. Theming means that within the same search group (the examples shown here are in and for Barcelona Apartments) certain pages are regarded as sufficiently similar by the search engine to be considered valid, and therefore are displayed as results for your search term.

This has a lot to do with good site structure. Many webmasters have been bamboozled as to why a PageRank 3 or 4 can always beat a PageRank 5 in results -and this is all down to theming. Let me give you a random example (but keeping it simple): a shoe shop website.

This shoe shop website might sell loafers, slippers, high-heeled shoes and trainers. These could all fit under the braod umbrella term of footwear. The importance is for there to be a logical, reasonable connection between each sub-category of the shoes/footwear to be able to be considered a "theme". For example, the site might target the following search terms:

comfortable footwear,
sports shoes,
ladies shoes,
women's shoes,
women's footwear,

Now a site that only deals with the variations on women's footwear (sandals, low heels, high heels, stillettos, etc.) is more specific and would therefore probably rank higher for this specific search term. However, you could try and beat this by using theming. For example, for each page regarding the different type of shoe, you could have 2 pages on that subject/list of products, and then the theme is not mixed up as much.

Themeing is a great way to ensure that google ranks your site for the search terms you are targetting, and also rewards you for good site structure in the results shown.

E-Marketing Strategies Barcelona

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Google and Page Rank

So how do I know that I’m ranking well in Google? Or that anything I’m doing with regards SEO is making changes or having a beneficial effect ? Well, there are a few little tools to help you know this. Google has it’s own ranking system which it gives to each website it visits. This is called a Page Rank, or PR, and is marked from 1 – 10. There are very few PR10 sites, and even excellent quality websites, such as are only PR8. The majority of sites are PR0 that exist on the internet. An average site should be looking for a PR4.
Search Engine Optimisation Barcelona - Page Rank

The best way to check a page's Page Rank is to download the Google Toolbar.
It is difficult to ascertain what Google uses to classify your site and give it it’s PR number. However, there are various things which could contribute. Site age is a benefit (the date your domain name went live) – the older the better, but be aware that often a server migration could affect the PR, as Google will recognise this as a “new site”. The content of your site and the quality of the content is also important. Betting, Gambling, Porn or Adult sites are therefore very difficult for Google to “like”. Where your page links to and who links back to you is an important factor. As a rule, don’t link to any “bad neighbourhoods” (Google’s terminology), and try and link to relevant sites to your own’s content. A site which is constantly updating with rich, quality text is also a benefit and if it receives lots of visitors or “hits” then this is also a very positive influence (see my earlier example of

Another way to see if the changes you are making are having an effect on your ranking is to before you start, check where you rank for the phrases or keywords you are targeting and then compare this on, say, a monthly basis. If you know sufficient to make changes to your own website, you can also install the tracking code from Google Webmaster Tools, which will then give you detailled information about your visitor stats, any problems within your website as a whole, and other intersting statistics. I will delve more into the benfits of webmaster tools at a later date.

Barcelona Online Marketing

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Google - the king of search engines.

When we talk about search engines, there are many different ones. Some of the main search engines you may already know are Yahoo, MSN, AltaVista, Ask, etc. but the lion's share of the internet goes to Google.

SEO Services Barcelona - Google Logo
Google is a huge company with various products on offer - most of them free - and is the favoured search engine for most people. WebSideStory Inc. claim that 75% of people in thr UK use google as their main seach engine, and in the USA, it's closer to 70%. That's a lot of people so it makes sense that if you're going to be targetting a new market or beginning an SEO venture, that your main aim is to rank in google - preferrably on page 1 of the search results. However, don't automatically assume that if you're page 1 on google, you will also be on the other search engines, as each uses their own unique search algorithms, that very few people know.

Google's success is attributed to the fact that it gives the best results for your search query, and has earned itself super-status simply from the number of users and with very little publicity.

Search Engine Optimisation Barcelona

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Let's start with the basics of search engines and how they work

I’m not going to assume that anyone reading this will already have any knowledge of SEO, web design, or anything related, so I’d like to basically try and very briefly explain the idea behind SEO.

Everyone has browsed on the internet, and everyone recognises a website when they see one, and have more often than not found things on the internet by using a search engine – whether or not they realise this or not.
Barcelona SEO - Internet Explorer
Websites are actually just lots of text, written in a special code, called HTML (Hyper Text Mark-up Language) and do not contain images or graphics like you see when you open a website page. Your website browser (like Internet explorer, Firefox, Mac, etc.) is basically like a window which understands how to read and interpret this code and how to display it to you – complete with certain text you can click on to get to another page, or an image, or things that pop up, etc. Everything you’re already used to seeing on a typical website.
Barcelona SEO - Firefox
It is impossible to estimate how many websites there must be in the world (not just in your own language remember) so the internet and internet browsing is safe to a certain point, with it’s dangers like anything, and can also be time consuming if you need to look for something. This is where the search engines step in.

A search engine is basically like a big electronic yellow pages. The main difference is that the yellow pages tends to just list the different companies in alphabetical order - with the odd few bigger paid adverts dotted around a double page. So really it’s kind of pot luck as to who you find – who’s to say that ABC Plumbing will be any better than Zen Pipes Plumbing, right? Also, the Yellow Pages tend to be just for one area or city, whereas the search engines need to try and organise the whole of the internet. It’s like having millions and millions of magazines on the floor, and trying to organise them into categories, but you get another million while you’re half way through.
Barcelona SEO - Yellow Pages
So what the search engines try to do is organise the list in terms of RELEVANCE to the subject. You can search for something in a search box of a search engine by typing in KEYWORDS – basically the words which describe what you’re looking for. So if you’re looking to find out about local Italian restaurants you could type “Italian restaurants “your city” and then you should get a list of restaurants and not travel agencies of language schools (although this has been known to occur!).

The search engines “read” the same HTML code that your website is created in and this is how it determines where you go on the list. There are many other factors which influence your position on this list, and the actual algorithms that the huge supercomputers use to index your page are only actually known to very few people.

This is where SEO starts. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and basically is the tweaking and changing internal and external components of your website to help the search engine index your page as more relevant and therefore move it up on the list. There is a common misconception that being number 1 on a web search means that it’s the best company. This is completely untrue. Think about the last reference of an Italian restaurant, and let’s use Barcelona as my example. So I type “Italian restaurants in Barcelona” and get the list given to me by the search engine – number 1 is a chain of restaurants called (for example) “Luigi’s Pasta” which produces pre-fabricated food with mainly frozen ingredients and has 7 restaurant chains in Barcelona. However, everyone in Barcelona knows that “Mama Mia’s” restaurant (again fictitious for the purposes of this example) is the best restaurant in Barcelona – home cooked, always full, and humble surroundings. So why is Mama Mia’s not top? Well, probably because Luigi’s has got more money to spend on advertising and therefore on websites and consequently on search engine optimisation. So you see, it’s all quite complicated, and depending on the sector you’re in, you may need to spend more money to achieve results in a shorter space of time.

It’s also important to point out, that the aforementioned algorithms that the computers use, are also always changing and getting updated, and this is something no-one (minus the search engines) can control or predict, so often work is done which works one month, will not be apparent the next. Be wary of any companies offering “ 100% GUARANTEED Page one results on Google” and the like

This is just a starter as to what this blog will tackle and try and introduce you to new and open ideas. Please feel free to comment and correct me as you may see fit. Thanks.

I also offer SEO Training in Barcelona. Please contact me for details.